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Food, Drink & Friendship In Small-Town Kauai

by Meg · 16 comments

Drinks at The Feral Pig Kauai

Small towns: They can be a curse.  But more often than not, they are a BLESSING… especially when you’re new in town.

My parents just moved to the island of Kauai, which is home to roughly 70,000 locals.  Even with this many people inhabiting the beautiful island, it still maintains a small-town feel.  Since the moment my family arrived on Kauai we have seen so much genuine kinship from neighbors and strangers alike… Something you don’t always see in the big city.

One thing in particular was that people all over the island have been graciously opening their doors for us… and feeding us. As soon my parents put a doormat on their front porch, neighbors began bringing over wine, homemade cookies, cakes… the list goes on.

And if there is any way to my heart, it is through food.

One example of such small-town kindness came from the owner of Kauai’s famed restaurant, The Feral Pig.

The Feral Pig Kauai

We met the owner, Dave, on our Tasting Kauai Farm to Fork Culinary Tour when we were brought to The Feral Pig to sample Dave’s customized cocktail creations…. Say that five times fast.

The Feral Pig Bar Kauai

Over excellent drinks (and full bellies), we instantly hit it off with Dave at his bar.  While the cocktails kept flowing, Dave told us about his epic journey to the island (like any great success story, it involved temporarily living out of his car) and his adventures in starting up The Feral Pig.  Within minutes of meeting him, he was inviting us (along with Caroline and Josh of Traveling9to5) to his upcoming house party.

According to Dave, this house party was not only an excuse for him to try roasting a whole pig, but it was also an excuse to get his microbrew friends over to share their homebrews and ignite good conversation around the topic of local microbreweries on Kauai.

This was NOT an invitation we were going to pass up.

Given that we were invited to Dave’s BBQ after only having known him for five minutes, I assumed that his backyard fiesta was going to be a blowout event.

But to our surprise, when we arrived at his house for the get together, there were only a small handful of friends at the potluck gathering. Each-and-every person was so welcoming and treated us like we had been a part of their circle for years.

Throughout the evening, we watched Dave conquer the delicious pig “Dexter-style” and learned about everyone’s escape from the mainland to live a more simplistic life on Kauai.

Pig Roast Kauai

While mingling with new friends, we grazed on all the homemade food people brought to the event (the Bacon Mac & Cheese was on the top of my list!) and sampled tasty homebrews… It was the perfect small town evening!

Pig Roast Kauai

But Dave’s kindness did not end there…. for, oh yes, we would be seeing him again!


We had been dying to go back to The Feral Pig to try the famous “Feral Burger”.  According to locals and tourists alike, The Feral Pig serves up “the best burger ever.  The super secretive off-the-menu  Feral Burger is a ½ beef, ½ pork burger served with pork belly bacon, caramelized onion, cheddar cheese, and a taro bun… HECK yes.

The Feral Burger at Feral Pig Kauai

Being absolute meat fanatics (in moderation, of course!), the four of us had to test this burger’s BOLD claim to fame.  So a few days after Dave’s lovely BBQ, we headed back down to Lihue to crush some burgers at The Feral Pig.

The restaurant was bustling, but Dave treated us like we were the only patrons in his restaurant.  While we were waiting for our burgers, Dave gave us his undivided attention and educated us on the beers at The Feral Pig and helped us carefully select the best ones to pair with our burgers.

Beer at The Feral Pig Kauai

And boy did the Feral Burger live up to its reputation.  Let’s just say we were VERY thankful to have met Dave.

The Feral Pig Bar Kauai

Just like many of the islanders that we have met since arriving here, Dave treated us like lifelong friends.

Like I previously stated, our experiences with Dave were just a couple examples of the MANY random acts of kindness we have witnessed on Kauai from many people.

Tony and I just left Kauai a couple of days ago, but we will carry with us the generosity that made us fall in love with the island lifestyle during our stay on Kauai:

Treat others as you want to be treated.  Open your doors (and heart!) to others.  Make friends.

The Feral Pig Kauai

And do this all over great beer and great pork.

About Meg
Exhausted from traveling every week as a Business Management Consultant early in my career, I took a year off in 2012 to travel at my own pace. I am a high-energy girl that loves being active, eating food, drinking wine, and exploring the world with my partner-in-crime (and husband), Tony! I now reside in Portland, Oregon and continue to write about travel, food, wine, and the awesome adventures we have in the Pacific NW!

Caroline @ Traveling 9 to 5 February 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Nom Nom Nom. :)

Meg February 9, 2013 at 11:34 am

Tony and I are having Pork withdrawals!

Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) February 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm

As much as it pains me to admit it, there were some awesome things about living in Nashville, TN. One is that southerners REALLY know their pork products as well as how to keep the liquid cheer flowing. Looks like Hawaiians have the same knack!

Meg February 9, 2013 at 11:34 am

Pork and Beer is ALWAYS a good combination… And a recipe for making friends! I have never been to TN, but it’s on my list… Especially now!

JR February 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I have to meet Dave and get to the Feral Pig….. Sounds like the kind of human being we could use more of. What a way to go. BTW does Dave serve up any Veggie Burgers :)

Meg February 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Trust me JR, his burgers are worth eating meat for! Although, the Feral Pig does have AMAZING fish tacos too… I know you would be a fan!

Barn February 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Kauai misses the 4 of you already! We had a wonderful time last night with a group of neighbors. We played mini-golf, followed by a beach picnic and campfire. People here are indeed friendly and very welcoming (must be the sunshine and great weather). Come back!
Love and best wishes to each of you.

Meg February 9, 2013 at 10:33 pm

We miss YOU Barn!!!! You neighbor date sounds so fun! We are so happy for you and so glad you moved to the island so we can come visit LOTS! 😀

Caroline @ Traveling 9 to 5 February 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Barn! we will be back – we deserve to see how your landscaping turns out!

Thank you for being amazing hosts and putting up with the unemployed and “technically homeless” crowd for the month :)

Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home February 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Any place has advantages and disadvantages… What is important is to find like minded people to hang out with :)

Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:37 am

Totally agree! I always say surround yourself with good people and weed out the bad! :-)

Marta Lane February 12, 2013 at 2:38 am

Love the feral burger at the pig!

Meg February 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

I have been spoiled Marta by that burger… I haven’t had a burger since because I know it won’t be as good as the Feral!

Adventurous Andrea February 12, 2013 at 11:03 am

It looks like a great, little place to visit! I feel like I’d need someone to help me eat that burger, though!

Meg February 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Thanks Andrea! I normally can’t eat an entire burger, but this one was worth it!

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